The new Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Alderman Hilary McClintock, will head up a special delegation travelling to New York this week to engage with prominent members of the Irish Diaspora community and the crews of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, as they prepare for their Trans-Atlantic journey to the city next month.
The Mayor will attend a series of cultural and business related events accompanied by council officials and representatives of Invest NI, to promote the region and further strengthen links between the two cities.
Two local companies will also travel as part of the delegation, with the opportunity to establish new trading opportunities and develop relationships with potential investors in the US. Joanne Doherty, founder of cultural gift company Piecemakers, which offers a range of bespoke heritage based pieces created using the latest laser technology, and Troy Armour, entrepreneur and founder of the Patral Group which includes a range of companies such as Trojan Technologies, youth fashion company Junk Kouture and creative digital agency Wurkhouse, will have the chance to meet with influential business figures during a series of engagements and networking opportunities on the trip.
The Mayor will also meet with the Clipper Race teams, and join members of the Derry~Londonderry~Doire crew as they arrive in New York before they embark on their final ocean voyage and a spectacular homecoming welcome during the Foyle Maritime Festival.
Speaking ahead of the trip, the Mayor said she was looking forward to promoting both the Foyle Maritime Festival event and the North West as an exciting tourism destination.
“As July fast approaches there is a great sense of anticipation about the Foyle Maritime Festival and this trip to New York presents a great opportunity to promote both the festival and the region as a whole. We have already established strong links with the city and I look forward to reaffirming these relations during our engagements, which include meetings with key members of both the business and cultural communities.
“I’m particularly looking forward to catching up with the Derry~Londonderry~Doire crew who have been so successful in the race challenges to date. The team is expecting a huge welcome on arrival in New York with many family and friends and a large number of Irish Diaspora travelling to the stopover location to welcome the team into port.”
During the visit the delegation will engage with local business and political figures and attend a series of meetings geared towards generating investment and trade links. The Mayor will also address a keynote lunch event hosted by Invest NI, Tourism Ireland and the NI Bureau to mark the race stopover and promote the North West as a great place to visit and invest.
The cities’ shared histories will be a strong focus of the trip, and local Genealogist Brian Mitchell will give a number of talks on local ancestry highlighting the strong historic ties between the North West and the New York Diaspora.
The trip will also include a visit to the New York Irish Centre where the Mayor will launch the ‘Derry’s of the World’ exhibition exploring the city’s legacy in other locations across the world which have adopted the same name.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to encourage people in New York to come to Derry and find out more about our shared culture and history,” she stressed. “The Foyle Maritime Festival celebrations provide the perfect opportunity to showcase the region and the positive change which has revitalised the city and the district.
“I look forward to sharing more about the positive work we are doing to develop our Community Plan and how we are actively involved in lobbying for investment in our University and our bid for European Youth Capital Status in 2019.
“I hope to further develop the relationships already established with the Diaspora in New York to ensure they continue to act as ambassadors for the city and region and help promote what we have to offer,” she added.